How Can a Child Obtain Emancipation or Independence in Australia?

22 April 2015
 Categories: Law, Blog


Following a divorce, or in a poor family environment, children may wish to become emancipated and live as independent adults. While a more common legal mechanism in the United States, the family court can choose to granted independence to minors in limited circumstances. If you are considering your own emancipation from your parents, here are a few instances where you're likely to achieve this status.

Parents are unable to look after the child

In most situations the parents are the first option to look after a child, and to make decisions in the best interests of the child. However in some circumstances such as death or incarceration or both parents, or extreme episodes of abuse or drug use the parents may not be suitable options as carers.

Extended family are unable to look after the child

The next option in most cases is that the children will go and live with family members. However in some cases there are no suitable options of extended family that are in a position to look after the child. This may occur when the parents are from another location and are estranged from their family and authorities cannot contact the family.

Foster care is not available for the child

The next option is that the child be placed in foster care. Many foster care option are available for younger children but if you are approaching your late teens, you may find that there are less available foster carers and placements, especially where there are complicating issues such as disabilities or a need to keep the child with culturally appropriate carers.

When contemplating whether or not you can act independently, the court will consider your family history and your ability to live independently. Some indications of the ability to independently include

  • history of making your own medical decisions
  • being in a marriage or a committed domestic relationship
  • history of independent living

Obtaining this order from the court is required before you can sign contracts (including tenancy agreements or car loans) so the court will look at the reasons why you are requesting independence when contemplating the order of independence from the courts.

If you are looking to obtain an order of independence from the court, it is sensible to obtain some advice from a local family law lawyer before proceeding. They can advise on the strength of your case, and the best ways to proceed.